‘NIM proud of its numerous contributions to nation building’
Address of the President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), Emeritus Prof. Munzali Jibril, FNIM, OFR, at the opening ceremony of its yearly national conference on September 18, 2017 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to this year’s Annual National Management Conference of our great Institute. I am most delighted to see that you all left other issues competing for your time and attention to be here. Thank you for coming.
The Annual National Management Conference, the flagship of the Institute’s many activities and programmes, is one of our numerous contributions to nation building which provides us the platform to brainstorm extensively on a burning governance and leadership issue of national importance and suggest ways forward to government and key decision-makers. In keeping with this laudable tradition, this year’s Conference, has “Corporate Governance and Institutional Performance” as its theme.
The choice of the theme of the Conference was arrived at when the Institute came to the sad realisation that most of the sleazy and unethical practices being witnessed in the country in recent times were due to scant regard for corporate governance. In addition, the reason for poor performance in some businesses and public sector institutions is non-compliance with the tenets and ideals of corporate governance. Since it is a truism that there is a direct correlation between adherence to corporate governance principles and institutional performance, there is a new compelling need to draw the attention of the nation, businesses and those who manage men and materials at different levels to the issue of corporate governance.
Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company or a country is directed and controlled. This essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community.
Corporate governance is intended to increase accountability and to avoid massive disasters before they occur. Well-executed corporate governance should be similar to an efficient internal audit unit, which detects potential financial irregularities and stops them from being actualised.
I must also add that corporate governance is of paramount importance to a company and is almost as important as its primary business plan. When executed effectively, it can prevent corporate scandals, fraud and the civil and criminal liability of the company. It also enhances a company’s image in the public eye as a self-policing company that is responsible and worthy of shareholder and debt-holder capital. It dictates the shared philosophy, practices and culture of an organization and its employees. A corporation or government without a system of corporate governance is often regarded as a body without a soul or conscience. Corporate governance keeps a company and government honest and out of trouble. If this shared philosophy breaks down, then corners will be cut, products will be defective and management will grow complacent and corrupt. The end result is a fall that will occur when gravity – in the form of audited financial reports, criminal investigations and government probes – finally catches up, bankrupting the company or government overnight. Dishonest and unethical dealings can cause shareholders and other stakeholders to flee out of fear, distrust and disgust.
It must be pointed out that both the private and public sectors are guilty of flouting the principles of corporate governance in their dealings, most times for the pecuniary benefit of those who blatantly do so. This is why both sectors are heavily weighed down by the consequences of looking the other way instead of abiding by the code of corporate governance already put in place for the smooth and proper running of their operations.
The issue of non-compliance with corporate governance has continued to be a reoccurring decimal in the way the business of government is conducted in the country. This is despite the fact that the country has enough laws in place to ensure that its business is done with due process and in line with the principles of corporate governance. Wilful disregard for the principles of corporate governance is one of the root causes of corruption and other vices that impede governance and make real development to elude us in all sectors nearly sixty years after independence. Apart from making corruption and the attendant negative effects on the economy and the image of the country to fester, non-adherence to the ethos of corporate governance also promotes impunity, unethical practices and arbitrariness. It should be remembered that no country makes real progress when it runs its business by the rule of the thumb.
It is appropriate at this stage for me to commend the President and the Vice-President for the discipline and maturity they displayed in managing a seamless transfer of power when the President had to proceed abroad on medical vacation. Imagine what would have happened if the President had, out of fear of losing power, failed to transmit the required letter to the National Assembly to transfer power to his Deputy. Imagine also what would have happened if the Vice-President had not restrained himself from exercising the full powers of the office of President, for example by embarking on a wholesale overhaul of the machinery of government so that upon his return, the President would be unable to recognize his own government because it had been cast in the image of his Deputy. This is the true spirit of corporate governance, which the two leaders have displayed to the glory of our country. They have thus enriched our political culture and set new standards of public conduct for others to emulate.
To stem the tide, those in governance both in private and public sectors of the country must beat a retreat; retrace their steps and ensure that official business is conducted with recourse to the principles of due process and corporate governance. Again, government and other employers of labour must address the issue of workers’ welfare. It is a given that a poorly paid and motivated employer is more prone to side-stepping the rules in order to have unhindered access to his employer’s coffers. It is almost impossible for an employee who superintends millions or billions of Naira of his employers’ funds not be tempted to help himself when he is poorly remunerated. It has to be pointed out also that the citizenry needs to adopt attitudinal change and a complete reorientation in mindset. For instance, the get-rich-quick syndrome which has made most Nigerians, especially those in positions of authority, to jettison ethics and good conscience must be tackled frontally if the country wants to make a positive change to meet the corporate governance challenge.
The Institute is poised more than ever before to do more in the coming years towards the advancement of the management profession and the betterment of the Nigerian project. As we journey into the future, we will neither relent in our quest to bequeath a well-trained and productive workforce to the nation nor will we be tired until mismanagement, maladministration, corruption and other social vices which have hampered Nigeria’s development are minimized in our polity.
On behalf of the Council, Management, Staff and the entire membership of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), I most respectfully and humbly thank the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for graciously accepting to declare this Conference open. We appreciate the fact that his Excellency found time out of his very busy state functions to honour this occasion with his distinguished presence. In the same breath, I wish to also thank a distinguished Fellow and Companion of the Institute and an internationally recognised authority in the area of Corporate Governance who has served meritoriously in both public and private sector organisations, Dr. Christopher Kolade, FNIM, CNIM, CON, who will be presenting the main theme paper at this Conference for his continued commitment and service to the Institute. Dr. Kolade, a Past President of NIM, who has also served as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, was the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of Pan Atlantic University.
I equally extend my heartfelt appreciation to a Professor of Finance, University Administrator, former Director-General of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), and former Minister of Agriculture, my long-standing friend, Prof. Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah, FNIM, OON, and the Sub-Dean, Department of Business Law, College of Law, Igbinedion University; a Past President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, and the Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Federal Government of Nigeria to harmonize Corporate Governance Codes in Nigeria and develop a National Code of Corporate Governance for the country, Dr. Nat Ofo, FCIS, who will be handling the sub-theme papers.
My profound gratitude also goes to two Past Presidents of the Institute, Mr. Akinbayo Adenubi, FNIM, CNIM and Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, FNIM, CNIM, MFR, who are going to chair paper sessions. I am very grateful to Dr. Rob Newsome, Managing Director, Platinum Edge Consulting; Dr. (Mrs.) Nkechi Ezeako, Executive Director, IoD Centre for Corporate Governance and Prof. Sulaiman Salihu Aruwa of the Department of Accounting, Nasarawa State University for accepting to play the role of colloquium discussants where they will be focusing on, “Building Strong Institutions: The Place of Corporate Governance” as well as Dr. Isaac Ngwube, FNIM, a former Registrar of NIM, serving as the Moderator of the colloquium. We appreciate your commitment and service to the Institute, the management profession and the Nigerian nation.
Let me most respectfully thank the founding fathers and past presidents of the Institute who have devoted their time, treasure, talent and thinking for their selfless sacrifices now and in the past. We are most grateful.
My special appreciation goes to the North Central Zone of our Institute which has worked tirelessly to ensure we have the world class event we are witnessing here today. Thank you for putting the necessary arrangements in place to organise this extraordinary Conference. I salute the passion and dedication of the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mrs. Farida Bello, FNIM, who also doubles as the Chairman of the host zone; other members of the Local Organising Committee; the Branch and Chapter Chairmen and the entire members of the Institute in this zone for giving us a Conference to be proud of.
I have no doubt in my mind that the speakers and other discussants at this Conference will raise some salient issues which will set the tone for an in-depth interactive discourse on this all-important theme of the Conference. At the end of the day, the outcomes of our discourse are expected to form our observations, strategies and recommendations which the Institute will pass on to government to aid it in achieving its desire to set the nation on the path of sustainable development.
Let me remind us, your Excellencies and Distinguished Guests that for Nigeria to move forward, there must be a break from the past. The operating environment must be conducive and peaceful. We all know that no meaningful development can take place in a chaotic atmosphere. The Institute, therefore, urges all Nigerians to join hands with the present administration and move the country forward.
Finally, to my fellow professional colleagues, I urge you to continue giving your best wherever you find yourselves. Endeavour to be the shining light and change agents in your different areas of calling and influence. We must all resolve to bring discipline, efficiency, effectiveness, integrity, accountability, probity and transparency, which are the values the Institute holds dear, back to the workplace and our nation. It is only when we give our best that we can help to drive the aggregates of national development. You must shun corruption, self-aggrandisement, greed and other social vices inherent in our workplaces and nation today which have threatened our efforts at setting Nigeria on the path of greatness.Once again, I appreciate your presence at this conference and hope that it will be a most fulfilling experience for all of us.
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